*Author Solutions*?! Really, Simon & Schuster/Penguin?

“Author Solutions is extremely disingenuous about how they target customers. They prey on people who don’t understand the industry. Their whole business model is predicated on customer ignorance – and they are relentless at exploiting that, hounding people with incessant calls, pushing every emotional button they can think of, until they crack.”

“Author Solutions are in the business of ripping people off. That’s who Penguin purchased. That’s who Simon & Schuster hired to run their self-publishing operation. That’s who the Author’s Guild partnered with to help their members get books back in print.”

(From this article, for full disclosure: http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/simon-schuster-joins-forces-with-author-solutions-to-rip-off-writers/)

I find this type of article so refreshing and, well, at the same time, familiar. I talk to so many would-be authors about my “competition” (Lulu, Publish America, etc.) and always end the conversation with a warning, making sure they’re getting what they’re paying for, which unfortunately isn’t a lot. And it’s not because I want their business (though that would be nice); what I’m trying to do is save them a lot of discouragement, heartache and an empty wallet. And, probably an ugly book with typos in it that can never see the light of day in a bookstore.

While technically I’m a publisher and run an author services business, I am actually in the business of informing people about the changes in the publishing industry – particularly people who’ve been doing the hard work, writing their books – and making sure they understand completely HOW THINGS WORK. Which is why I always send people who call me initially a PDF of my entire process, beginning to end, and offer a la carte marketing options. (Email me and I can send them to you too). You need to know what you’re getting into before you even start.

These are the answers I give on a regular basis (you can assume the questions):

1. No, I can’t get you on Oprah’s new show, or in her magazine. Unless you have an in with Gayle, or you’re already a celebrity of some kind. Even then, your chances are slim to none. However, there are lots of other places to get a lot of exposure to readers and book buyers.  LOTS.

2. Your local Barnes & Noble/other large chain bookstore will not stock your book on their shelves simply because you are a local author. They WILL stock your book if you have a reputable distributor to order from, a healthy discount price, not to mention a good book and a great-looking cover, and you’ve already sold the book well to other places. And if your book is about Lincoln, dogs, or teenage vampires/werewolves/psychics/zombies, all the better (kidding).

3. Yes, you probably need both an ebook and print version of your book. But you don’t need both right away. There is a lot of sense in doing the ebook first and then producing the print version in small quantities later, when you have the money to do it.

4. No, you don’t have to publish your book with me if you hire me to edit it. I get paid to edit books, proofread books, co-write books, evaluate books, format books, and market books. But you are in no way obligated to publish your book through me if you don’t want to. I’m flexible like that. If I’m not the right fit for you, I’m okay with that. I’ll even help you find the right place, if you want help!

There are about 1,934 other questions I get on a regular basis in these intro calls. Okay, maybe not quite that many. But I am in the process of putting my answers/recommendations/suggestions all in one place (me, writing a book! Who knew?) and offering it to people. I’m not sure yet if I’ll charge for it, or offer it in pieces for free. We’ll see how it goes.

What would you like to know about the publishing process or the industry overall? Email me and I’ll try my best to answer.



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